Ambassador Kennedy Speaks at Tokyo Pride Parade

May 8, 2016

Good Afternoon and Happy Mother's Day! Congratulations to Tokyo Pride Parade on celebrating your fifth anniversary. I am proud to be the first U.S. Ambassador to speak here and join you in making Golden Week Rainbow Week!

In America, we strive to live up to the promises of freedom and equality on which our country was founded. The fight for full civil rights has been waged by African-Americans, women, people with disabilities, and the LGBT community. The courage of committed individuals who fight for justice reminds all of us that when one person is discriminated against because of what they look like, what god they believe in, or who they love - none of us are truly free. Today we reaffirm that LGBT rights are human rights.

In the United States, in Japan, and around the world, too many LGBT students are bullied, LGBT adults face discrimination, and LGBT teenagers commit suicide in heartbreaking numbers. Today we recommit ourselves to fight intolerance and cruelty, to reach out to those who are suffering.

Young people need to know that there are people who love them the way they are. The elderly should not face discrimination when they visit their partner in a hospital. And everyone should be able marry who they love. When we understand our differences, treat everyone with respect, and celebrate our diversity - that's when we will be able to build a world at peace.

Thank you.